How environmental racism became a hot topic
Let’s start by explaining environmental racism, a lot of people are lucky to wake up in the morning in a home, in a bed with clean water and fresh air outside. Not everyone is as blessed and it seems a huge amount of people that live in a hazardous area are either minority groups or people of low socioeconomic status and that is what environmental racism is all about.
The somehow coincidental placement of people in environmentally hazardous areas or on the other hand the placement of environmental hazards in an area with large numbers of minority living and/or low-income families. There are many communities dealing with environmental racism, for instance, native American land has been used as a place for nuclear waste and statistically, Latinos are more likely to live near large waste landfills and African Americans are more likely to live near toxic waste sites. Residents in these communities have suffered from health problems, shorter lifespans due to toxic air, land, and water.
Due to the unsafe living conditions, no one wants to live or work there and this has deterred businesses from setting up shops in these areas. No business equal fewer jobs, fewer jobs equal no pay, no pay results in members of this community not being able to live a decent life and since these are already low socioeconomic areas they do not have the means or resources to move to a better location. See where I am going with this.
A more recent and relatable issue to compare environmental racism too is the mostly black city of Flint, Michigan. The water was ( and still is ) poisoned with incredibly dangerous levels of lead which can lead to brain damage in the long run. Rather than coming up with solutions to this ongoing problem local and federal government first instinct was to try and cover it up at first. But what about the natural gas leak in the white community of Porter Ranch, California? The government has been way more responsive to their needs and concerned about the citizens. This is a vicious, sad coincidental cycle not many people are aware of.
Without awareness of this issue and the understating that this problem is affecting the same group of people, things may never change. What are some ways you think can help end environmental racism?